One of our favorite childhood memories was sitting down and penning a letter to Santa Claus to lie about how good we’d been that year and to ask him to bring us wonderful gifts. But many adults still write to Jolly Old St. Nick. This year, we obtained letters to Santa — and by “obtained,” we mean “made up” — that offer a peek into what some notable folks in the region are asking for this Christmas.
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Please bring back my porn movies. At least I was serving a purpose.
The Garden Theater
It’s been a tough five years. I’m a Glock 43 semi-automatic 9 mm pistol, and five years ago I was “stolen.” Or was I “lost”? No one can say for certain because my disappearance was never reported. I’d tell you my serial number, but it was filed off when I went missing.
Seven years ago, the City of Pittsburgh passed a piece of legislation requiring firearm owners to report whether their weapons have been lost or stolen; that made me feel safe. I figured if I was ever lost or stolen, my owner would report it and maybe the police could find me before I get into some trouble. But I don’t think my owner ever told the police I was missing. I’m also hearing people aren’t getting punished for not filing reports because the mayor and police have never enforced the law. How can anybody find me if they don’t know I’m gone?
Since getting “lost,” I’ve been involved in a shooting and an armed robbery. They say the kid I killed was only 14. The boy who pulled the trigger was 15. The woman I was pointed at during the robbery looked terrified and started praying. I’ve also been exchanged once for heroin.
When I was created, I thought I’d spend my days pointed at bottles for target practice, or protecting my owner’s family. But I guess that’s not what my owner had in mind. If the police ever do find me, did you know that they’re required to return me to him, even though he couldn’t be bothered to tell them I was missing to begin with? What a jerk. I’m afraid if they give me back to him, he’ll just “lose” me again.
Please find me, Santa. If you do, maybe I could come live at the North Pole with you. I could help you protect the elves, reindeer and Mrs. Claus. Get a permit and I can even ride in the sleigh with you! After all, you know what they say, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” And there’s no better guy than you, right, Santa?
Just another “lost” Glock
I’d like “The Rapper” introduced to a whole new generation by being covered by a hot young recording artist. (Maybe Mac Miller since he’s an actual rapper.) Anyway, I think the young kids would love it and the royalty checks would be all right by me.
I know I write to you every year and ask you for more and more extravagant gifts. While I have gotten so much joy out of the private chef, chauffer, private-jet access and a salary north of $5 million, I feel … I feel, hollow inside.
After all, Santa, how many times can a man eat roast beast in his private corporate dining room for breakfast every day? I don’t come to you with a request this year, Santa; instead I come with a promise — a promise to do better.
As I sit in my Grant Street lair and gaze upon all of the weary residents schlepping to and from their jobs, I realize that they deserve better from a health-care company like UPMC. They deserve access to the best doctors and facilities in the world at a reasonable cost. In network, out of network shouldn’t matter. What matters are the people of this city. So from today forward, we will give in-network access rates to all people!
Also, I realized that it’s not fair that we pay so little in property taxes for all of the land we own in Allegheny County. So starting today, we will pay reasonable tax rates and pay our fair share. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about our employees, Santa. We have fought tooth-and-nail against unionization for years now and have done a pretty good job of keeping our workers from unionizing. But why shouldn’t they receive a living wage for the hard work they’ve ….
Actually Santa, I was just reading this over and I’m not so sure about all of this stuff … um … yeah — actually, forget I said anything. Just bring me another plane … and an Xbox. I love blowing shit up on Call of Duty.
How about a full season without breaking, spraining or ripping something?
I’m writing to you for clarification about your designations of “naughty” and “nice.” It seems that people have used both terms to describe me over the past three years. Well, I guess if I’m being honest, no one probably actually has called me nice, but I feel like I’ve done some worthwhile things while in office. I have vigorously prosecuted sex offenders and child pornographers, so that has to be a favorable check on the ledger? I’ve also been working to expose the “good-old-boy” network in Harrisburg — a bunch of filthy old men sharing pornographic and misogynistic emails. Some of them have resigned and more probably will. Yay, me!
But here’s where things get dicey. You may have heard that I’ve gotten in some legal trouble myself for allegedly — and Santa, I can’t stress the word “allegedly” enough here — leaking grand-jury testimony, obstructing justice and lying to a grand jury. Also, I’ve had my law license suspended and the state Senate is trying to boot me from office. So Santa, I see where some people — mainly Republicans and my other (numerous) political enemies — might try to lobby for me to be on the naughty list. But Santa, this is all retaliatory. They’re out to get me because I released those emails.
Now, for full disclosure, some will ALLEGE that I did so only as political payback against a former employee who told the media that I halted prosecution of a sting operation that netted some high-profile Philly Democrats. But as I stand here today, Santa, I swear that evidence was no good. Although, I must admit that another prosecutor took that evidence and secured five convictions.
Look Santa, as you can see, this is a complicated issue with a lot of nuances and gray areas. If you can find your way clear to put me on the “good list” this year, I will take whatever gift you are willing to give. But if you are looking for suggestions, that law license would actually come in pretty handy.
Kathleen Kane, Pa. Attorney General (at least at the time this letter was written)
I don’t want to move to New York! I like it here. I’ve been in Pittsburgh my whole life! New York is a big town, and I’m worried you won’t be able to find me next Christmas?
I’m a student at Pittsburgh Milliones School in the Hill District. Yesterday I opened up a copy of the A+ Schools’ “2015 Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh,” and it doesn’t look like my school is doing very well.
Only 23 percent of us are taking advanced-placement courses. The district average is 29. Last year, only 16 of 38 students took algebra by the end of the eighth grade. That means we’ll probably be behind if we make it to college.
At least the graduation rate here is 77 percent, which is higher than the district average of 74 percent. But fewer than half of students at my school are eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship, which means that even those of us who graduate and get accepted to a college might be unable to pay for it. Maybe that’s why only 41 percent of our most recent graduating class went on to attend a college or trade school.
Even our teachers are having a hard time. Only 52 percent of them think the school is a good place to work and learn.
A lot of us come from families that are struggling. The report says 88 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. Forty-six percent of us come from low-income homes. And 58 percent of us were absent 18 or more days last year. I’m not sure what our parents think of the school. Less than 10 percent of them responded to a survey asking whether they’d recommend it.
The school used to be known as University Prep, but I get the feeling that they’re trying to make us forget about the name since our school doesn’t really seem like it’s preparing us for college. We need help, Santa.
A proud but discouraged UPrep Wildcat
I was wondering if you could bring one of those big oversized-load trucks to pick up and move my son’s school about a mile or so down the road? You see, we moved to the neighborhood some years ago. It was such a nice place — rolling hills and friendly neighbors. But ever since the gas-drillers came, and our town started making some money from them, they’ve been allowed to set up shop almost everywhere! Even less than 1,000 feet from my son’s school! Can you believe that, Santa? Rolling hills are now the site of several acres of fracking operations, and neighbors are pitted against neighbors in legal battles.
I’ve been reading studies, and I’m worried. Some new studies, like one from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health, are associating lower birth weights with a mother’s proximity to gas wells. If our state constitution has an amendment that specifically, and legally, promises that “people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment,” then how, in the face of such ominous studies, can this be allowed to happen? My friend who’s a registered nurse, and who takes calls from people who live near drilling, says she’s seen consistent symptoms of rashes, headaches, nausea and asthma attacks. The companies tell me it’s safe. I just can’t trust their word when I know how much money is involved.
A Concerned Butler County Parent
For the last couple years, people keep moving into East Liberty, and I have watched all my new friends receive shiny new apartments and homes for Christmas.
While I see all these new rich neighbors receiving all the best gifts, I keep getting coal in my stocking. Part of my home will be torn down two months after Christmas, and it looks like my favorite neighborhood park will be taken away, too. On top of that, it seems like more rich people will move into where I live now. I am not sure what I did to deserve to be on your naughty list, but please take me off it!
I know there is nothing you can do to stop my apartment buildings from coming down, but maybe you can make sure a decent building will be ready before my home is demolished so I can stay in East Liberty. It doesn’t need to be shiny and pretty like all my new neighbors’ places; just something nice and safe that I can afford. Also, please make sure that there are enough affordable places for my Penn Plaza friends, too.
The owners of my apartment complex are giving us some small gifts to help us find new places to live, but it is like getting a Wawa gift card, when I asked for Sheetz — I can’t use it in my neighborhood! I would ask for a Section 8 voucher, but I can’t use them here either because no one in the neighborhood accepts them anymore.
Santa, please help me and my Penn Plaza friends stay in East Liberty. I know lots of my old friends have moved outside Pittsburgh, but I really don’t want to have to move to Penn Hills and would like to stay because the neighborhood is starting to look pretty nice.
A Penn Plaza Resident
Please bring me a security system for my work email, and also more words to describe women’s breasts — the more demeaning and humiliating the better.
Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, I mean “John Smith”
I could ask for every route in Pittsburgh to have a dedicated lane for bikes (like cars have!), but I understand this would piss off way more people than it would please. I get it — motorists don’t really like cyclists on the roads, even though they are legally allowed to be there. And I get that the city is working hard to add safe bike infrastructure one mile at a time. But until all of it is complete, my request is this: Please spread your jolly spirit to Pittsburgh drivers so they will be merry toward cyclists all year round.
I am sick of getting yelled and honked at for going too slow while struggling up Pittsburgh’s steep hills. I am sick of my fellow cyclists being physically harassed by drivers on Butler Street who feel the need to exit their vehicles to confront a couple enjoying a leisurely ride. (A mail carrier even screamed at me to get off the road once!)
I am also sick of seeing my bike friends being hurt or killed as a result of car crashes. Some year-round bike-related cheer might go a long way toward reminding drivers that respecting bikers on the road could mean avoiding the loss of a fellow Pittsburgher.
Additionally, I think you might be on my side because riding a bike emits zero greenhouse gases and helps to keep your lovely frozen paradise at the North Pole intact.
In exchange for my gift, I will try to stop completely at all stop signs from now on. But if I roll through one at 5 mph during a grueling uphill six-mile ride, remind drivers that they do this all the time and no one screams bloody murder at them.
Please remind drivers that my bike friends and I are just trying to be healthy, save money and help get more cars off the Pittsburgh streets, leaving those who chose to drive with less traffic deal with.
A Faithful Pittsburgh Bike Rider
Please bring me some taxis because for the first time in 80 years residents are able get drunk at my restaurants. I can’t even remember what drunk people look like because it has been so long. Does Fort Pitt beer still exist? We may have only one tap of IC Light (what the heck is light beer, does it weigh less?) at one restaurant, but more are sure to come. Please help my residents get home safe.
The Borough of Bellevue
I know you’ve been busy making a list and checking it twice. But you know what I’ve been doing twice: THINKING before I flush my toilet. My sewage bill has risen the past two years, and there might not be an end in sight. I’ve heard I’m paying for some new pipes ’cause the government doesn’t like it when the old pipes overflow and our poo goes in the river. Sure, that is gross. But, until my paycheck goes up, I can’t be throwing the extra money I have down the porcelain throne every time I go to “see a man about a horse” or play “call of doody.” Honestly, I’m going to be driven to using nature’s lavatory real soon, a.k.a., the woods behind my house, where it’s free to wee! So could you do me a solid (no pun intended) and put a port-a-potty under my tree?
Holding on ’til Christmas,
An ALCOSAN Ratepayer
Please keep Donald Trump in the headlines. He’s the only person in the world who makes me seem more tolerant and less racist, classist and homophobic.
MERRY CHRISTMAS (not Happy Holidays),
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
Letters written by Charlie Deitch, Ryan Deto, Ashley Murray and Rebecca Nuttall